Innovation is much more than we think…literally

 

Such ominous words were uttered to a room of corporate executives—to “scare” them into making innovation their top strategic priority, especially in the face of digital disruption.

As part of its Integrated Learning Program on Innovation, Ayala Corp., in partnership with global innovation consulting firm IXL Center and the Global Innovation Management Institute, recently hosted a one-day forum titled “Demystifying Innovation and Making It Real” for select group executives.

The highlight of the forum was a talk by IXL Center founding partner and GIM Institute board member Hitendra Patel, who discussed four key innovation trends: Greenovate, Healthovate, Connectivate, and Robovate.

The emergence of each trend, he said, could result in the demise of some industries, should they fail to think and plan ahead.

Under the Greenovate trend, for example, Patel said the world could see the end of traditional farming and even the oil industry.

“Most of the food that we eat come from chicken, pigs, and cows. But the amount of water, energy we use, the time for these animals to become full-size—that’s a lot of carbon footprint,” Patel said. “There are insects we can grow in half the time, and produce twice the protein, with less carbon footprint. Today’s farmers are learning about microlivestock.”

He added: “Would we even need oil anymore? There’s the beautiful thing called the sun that shines on us all the time. We are approaching a time when we won’t need coal or oil anymore.”

Under the Healthovate trend, Patel said that the creation of wearable devices such as Fitbit poses a question—is this the end of doctors?

“Our devices are going to be able to tell you that you are low on salt, on water, and will tell you to fix things before they break. You’re going to be able to diagnose things much faster,” he said. “So is this the end of doctors—that 80 percent [of them] would only be needed for things that break?”

Talking about Connectivate, Patel said this trend was “one of the most fundamental drivers of the shared economy”—Uber, AirBnB, Facebook have all made good use of connectivity to build successful companies without owning a single asset.

“How about the end of thinking?” Patel added. “We have arrived at the end of thinking: You get your GPS device, you plug it in, and you tell it where you want to go—and this voice knows exactly how to get you there.”

Finally, under the Robovate trend, Patel recalled a trip to an LG factory in 2006: “That factory was $8 billion, and was the size of a football field. Looking inside, we couldn’t see anything—there were no lights! Why? There were no humans, just robots, and robots don’t need lights. They do things very well without lights.

So we’re coming to a world where factories are going to decrease their number of people because if it’s inconvenient, labor-intensive, boring, fastidious, a machine will do it—better, faster, and safer.”

Patel listed these four trends in the hope of inspiring new ideas among the Ayala group’s leaders across all functions. The forum also served as the ILP’s kickoff, as these executives will undergo an “innovation journey,” or a set of capability-building activities designed to empower them to develop and manage innovation initiatives using a standard language and process.

The program began with a two-day workshop, wherein participants were awarded GIMI’s Level 1 Innovation Management Certifications. Those gunning for the Level 2 certification will then be assigned, for 14 weeks, to work on projects which could potentially open new businesses for the company.

“They aren’t going to sit in a conference room talking about how things are going to work. They’re going to go out, talk to customers, make prototypes, make brochures. By doing all those things, they’re going to be able to do what they want to do. So we’re going to take them through this 14-week journey, and they’re going to hate it. But for the first two weeks they’re going to say, ‘This is awesome! This is easy! Post-Its—yeah!’” said Patel. “When they get to the end, we’re going to identify the three best, and we’re going to celebrate them.”

This celebration, called the Spark Innovation Summit, is set to take place in November, wherein participants will also receive their Level 2 Innovation Management Certifications.

“Innovation doesn’t have a standard textbook. GIMI is making that standard, just like Six Sigma became a standard. We are creating a language and management discipline,” Patel said.

The program, Patel added, also helps the company “connect dots,” or open up opportunities for more people to work together—something essential to innovation.

“The best innovations in history have come at the intersection of multidisciplines. And the next big innovation comes at the intersection of industries,” he said. “If we do this right, [the participants] are going to say, ‘I loved it,’ and they’re going to do it again and again—and they’re going to tell their friends to do it, and it’ll start an innovation wildfire.”

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